Mediators: Longshoremen strike averted, temporary deal reached

WASHINGTON (WCIV) -- Federal mediators announced Friday morning that a temporary deal had been reached between the International Longshoremen's Association and the{}United States Maritime Alliance.

The deal adds a 30-day extension to talks between the two parties, averting a shutdown at the ports that oversee 45 percent of commerce, according to a Bloomberg report. Now, the ILA and the USMA have until midnight on Jan. 28 to iron out their differences and come to a long-term deal.

"While some significant issues remain in contention, I am cautiously optimistic that they can be resolved in the upcoming{}30-day extension period," said{}Federal Conciliation and Mediation Services Director George H. Cohen.

Cohen said in a statement that detailed information about the deal reached would not be released.{}

"What I can report is that the agreement on this important subject represents a major positive step toward achieving an overall collective bargaining agreement," he said.

The Port of Charleston said Friday after news of the deal broke that the terminal gates would remain open for regular hours on Friday, adding that gates' hours on Saturday had been canceled.{}

"On behalf of our Agency, I want to thank the parties, especially ILA President Harold Daggett and USMX Chairman & CEO James Capo, for their ongoing adherence to the collective bargaining process, which has enabled them to avoid the imminent deadline for a work stoppage that could have economically disruptive nationwide implications," Cohen added.

The South Carolina Ports Authority{} released the following statement:

The ILA and the US Maritime Alliance today agreed to extend the current Master Contract for an additional 30 days. As a result, regular operating hours at the Port of Charleston's two container terminals will resume. Previously scheduled extended gate hours for Friday, December 28 will continue as planned until 8 p.m. Gate hours for Saturday, December 29 have been canceled.